Asian Stocks, U.S Futures Push Higher After Two-Week Slide

14/09/2020 Asian markets steamed ahead on Monday and U.S. futures pointed higher amid signs of progress toward a virus vaccine. Pfizer says it’s the likely to be ready to deploy a vaccine to Americans by year-end. Oracle wins a deal for TikTok’s U.S. operations. Locally, on Friday, the JSE All/Share firmed 0.24% to 56,087.84 points and the Top 40 0.36% as markets digested the outcome of the ECB on Thursday, and looking forward to the Fed policy meeting this coming Wednesday. Platinum miners gained 2.13%, resources 1.13% and gold mining lost 0.89%. Both the JSE and Top40 gained 4% for the week. Rand up 0.22% at R16.70 to the dollar, while the Yield on 10 year govt rand bonds rose 2.1 bps to 9.345%. Tencent skyrocketing 3.49%.

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European markets were mixed heading into the weekend with multitude of concerns weighing on the day’s sentiment, ranging from: the upcoming US presidential elections, Brexit and Sino-US relations. The British Prime Minister could face a revolt from within his own ranks should he attempt to break the withdrawal bill signed with the European Union. The latest UK GDP figures showed the economy grew 6.6% in July following 8.7% growth in June and a 2.4% increase in May. The FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.48%, alongside the CAC-40 gaining 0.20&, while the DAX slipped 0.05% – consumer prices in Deutschland dipped by 0.1% year-on-year in August. European stocks have been stuck in a narrow range since mid-June. The Euro resumed its surge against the dollar after the European Central Bank said on Thursday there was no need to intervene.

The Dow opened 141 points higher on Friday, with data light from both the economic front and news on the corporate side. On the macro front: consumer prices increased 0.4% in August, with the cost of used cars and trucks growing more than they had in the last 50 years. In corporate news: Peloton (exercise equipment/media company) and Oracle posted better-than-expected quarterly results overnight. At the end of day’s trading: the Dow rallied 131 points up, or 0.48%, while the S&P500 was flat 0.05% and the Nasdaq retreated 0.60% – the tech-heavy index ending its worst week since March.

Stock index futures rose late Sunday as a series of deals raised hopes that battered stocks would recover. The Dow futures up 270 points, or 1%, alongside the S&P500 futures firming up 1.14%, as so the Nasdaq futures advancing 1.41%

Here are some key events coming up:
• China industrial production and retail sales data is due on Tuesday.
• Wednesday sees the FOMC policy decision and news conference from Chair Jerome Powell.
• Bank of Japan and Bank of England policy decisions come Thursday.
• Friday sees quadruple witching for U.S. markets when the quarterly expiration of futures and options on indexes and stocks happens on the same day.

Asian markets firmed on Monday on renewed hopes for a covid-19 vaccine after AstraZeneca resumed its phase-3 trial. Investor sentiment is still cautious ahead of a big week of central bank meetings in UK, Japan and the United States. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.7%. Japan’s Nikkei225 gained 0.66%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.72%, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.45%. Australia’s ASX 200 added 0.39.

Oil prices mixed on Monday with U.S. crude rising as a tropical storm, SALLY, in the Gulf of Mexico forced rigs to shut down. The storm is disrupting oil production for the second time in less than a month after hurricane Laura swept through the region. However, gains were curbed by concerns about excess supply and falling demand for fuels. U.S. WTI crude futures were up 0.48% at $37.52 a barrel. Brent crude was down marginally up 0.10% at $39.90. The storm was poised to become a category 2 hurricane.